One out of three isn’t enough for Jesus.
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“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
James 1:19 New International Version
I’d love to blame Janice for the gnomes in our house and backyard, but I can’t. They remind me of our trip to Germany a few years back, when we stopped in Oberammergau. Shops throughout the city display wood carvings of the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys.
Even though these guys are gnomes and not monkeys, they communicate the same thing. It is hard for us to believe that these mischievous gnomes would ever see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Maybe one out of three, but not all three.
We’d like to think that we have the willpower to turn our backs on evil; that within us is the power to keep our eyes from gazing on things that break God’s heart, the power to close our ears to slander, and the power to keep our tongue in check. However, we have a difficult time keeping our eyes focused on Jesus, our ears on what he says, and our mouth from speaking his truth.
James reminds us of how important it is to listen. He might also have expressed something similar about seeing. When confronted with our struggle to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil we must turn to the one who did for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
Jesus is not a monkey or a gnome. He is the truth. He sees truth, he hears truth, he speaks truth. On his cross Jesus saw the truth of sin, he heard the truth of our blaspheme, and spoke the truth, “Father, forgive them.” One of these three isn’t enough for Jesus. For Jesus, they are a packaged deal.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO